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Listening

So many of my black friends are quieter right now—and I asked why. There’s so much pain…mixed with fear of a lie that has been a truth on repeat “nothings ever gonna change”.

So many of my white friends are quieter because they just don’t know what to say and know they will never understand…so what do you even say but you know you have to say something.

10 years ago I was at a red light when I looked to my left and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit…as I made eye contact with that strong, proud, black man. “That’s gonna be your son one day.”

I called the godmother of my kids, a strong proud black woman, to tell her—as she had held my hand through our adoption and she said, “Well—what did you think he was gonna be Andrea?!”

It hit me that a white woman raising a black son in America was going to be a daunting almost impossible task. Through the years I’ve had fancy pearled clerks follow him in gift shops to watch his hands and people also shake their head at me at restaurants as we walk in holding hands…yes this still happens. I’ve had to hold back tears on the playground the first time another kid said he couldn’t play with him to later lose it at the grocery when I saw there weren’t bandaids to match his skin. I’ve been angry, hurt and frustrated and my son is only 10…I’m a white woman and I won’t live it the way he will or my friends have.

I’ve also received glares from black strangers for having a black son when his lotion wasn’t on or his hair wasn’t on pointe. And while your first inclination might be to say SEE…it also took me awhile to understand why it was hard for many black people seeing me with my boy. It took me longer than it should have to understand. Would I love him the way the black community would? Would I know how to raise him? Would I know how to immerse him in culture in a way that taught him the unspoken life saving essentials among blacks that you don’t jaywalk, wear a hoodie, reach for your wallet, walk too fast, run in white neighborhoods, put your hands in your pockets in stores…all the things that can save your life.

That day I called my friend…all these thoughts were running through my head could I do this?! No. Not without her I couldn’t. Not with you either. God has been teaching me for 10 years what it looks like to live in the middle, and I have so far to go. I realized I had both prejudice and white privilege—one that needed to be recognized and changed and another that needed to be recognized and used to be louder and bring change for him…for my black brothers and sisters.

For 10 years I’ve posted on Facebook about these things and for 10 years I’ve been disheartened when there are zero comments about my race posts and 354 comments about something silly on our farm. But I choose to believe people care—they just don’t know what to do or say…and they are scared of saying the wrong thing. I’m also a little fearful to believe that lie that’s been a truth for too long that nothing will ever change…but I’m not gonna believe that. Instead I’m gonna believe this chaos in our hearts is another chapter of big change that black ancestors started forever ago. And for my son I’ll listen harder. I’ll listen to the shouts and tears in the past…I’ll listen to the comments where it’s clear people are not getting it yet and pray for them…I’ll keep going to my black brothers and sisters asking for help, telling them I know they’re tired and ask how they are holding up.

I’ll keep learning and changing and listening…not because I have to as a mom to a black son—but because I get to as a white woman in America. I heard a strong, proud black man say yesterday that change will really begin to happen when white people use their white powerful privilege to speak up so they are heard. We have to lean in and listen—so we know what to say. That’s all.

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Black Lives Matter

We have to stop to make it stop.

We have to come back and address our racism and say we are sorry to move forward.

We have to stop preaching the wrong things from the pulpit—our views, what makes the pew warmers happy or comfortable—and preach truth…the reality in America, reality in our heart and harder things addressing the real problem to change.

Y’all.

In 2017 after the world was up in arms over #takeaknee I went to church hoping to hear a sound word of truth and encouragement in the storm.

The youth pastor, who we hoped was breathing truth into hearts of youth in our community, preached that Sunday and addressing #blacklivesmatter actually made his sermon title point “All Lives Matter”.

Over and over again he said it in his whiteness to a mostly white congregation.

Over and over my heart cringed.

I wanted to stand up and make him stop.

I wanted to tell him he didn’t get it.

I wanted in the very least to walk up to him after his sermon and tell him he had it all wrong and wasn’t listening.

But instead that day we left.

And that was where I got it wrong too.

We have to say when we are missing the mark.

We have to come back to pulpit when we say it wrong and say it.

We have to listen, stand up and speak up.

We have to address it.

Don’t worry—we left that day.

We left and while we love that church it wasn’t our place or our people.

We went back to our diverse church with our solid pastor who happens to be black and addresses race in America with boldness and truth.

It’s where we need to be.

That is a start for all us finding our people who help us SEE and encouraging us to understand and love in ways we don’t understand because it took some of us (me) to really see.

But when we see things…

When we hear things…

When we do things and say things that we know are wrong—

We have to be brave and speak up…

and even say we are sorry.

I’m sorry I just left that day. I’m sorry I didn’t walk down that aisle and tell that youth pastor he had it backwards and wasn’t listening and was misleading the flock that day. He had the opportunity to help so many see “Black Lives Matter” and I stead he watered it down that day to make the pew warmers happy, to try to bring quick peace and tie it all up with an eloquent well spoken bow. He was wrong. But I was more wrong for not telling him. I was wrong for not speaking up. And for that…

I am sorry.

 

Ally Henny wrote…

“Our ancestor Maya Angelou told us that when people show us who they are, believe them the first time. There are a whole lot of people who are doing a whole lot of telling on themselves when it comes to racism.

Don’t let people guilt you into taking their abuse in the name of friendship, solidarity, peace, Christian unity, or any other of the bull crap justifications that people create to excuse their nonsense. You don’t have to take any of it.

Whiteness will rationalize, justify, and cry crocodile tears in order to maintain dominance. Whiteness will try to make on like you’re the problem and will have you making apologies if you’re not careful.

I believe that people have the power to change, but I recognize that its not my job to try to convince people to change who are perfectly happy with who they are. As Mother Angelou said, people know themselves better then we do. I believe that people know that they’re racist and that they think racist things; they just don’t want to change. The people who do change, do so because they want to.

All we can do is to continue to speak the truth. Our words fall on who they fall on. It’s okay to shake the dust off of your feet and to move on from people and relationships that continue to do harm.”

Speak up.

Do what you have to do…need to do to make a difference.

Leave the places, the people, the things that do more harm than good because they are preaching the wrong sermons from the pulpit—dust your feet off and run to change.

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Movies that Build Character for Teens

We started this thing last week in our family quarantine. We made movie 🍿 night almost every night for the big kids (teens) after the littles go to bed. We made a list—many of our friends suggestions added…a few they have seen but wanted to add for your list if you want to follow suit! You could even print this off and give to your teens to check off as they watch!

Praying this time is intentional—even if it’s just handing your bigs a list of intentional movies to enjoy over video games. Building into their minds and hearts during this time—and giving you a little time to get laundry done while they grow from what they watch too.

Xoxo,

Andrea

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Family Devotional to Begin the New Year

We tend to put so much focus on Christmas that when it’s over we don’t even know what day it is until the new year arrives. We aren’t sure some times where to start, but something in our hearts feels we need more…to look for and find some of the wonder we felt as sang Silent Night together.

Friends—THIS is where the magic really starts. THIS is the time to draw our family in closer. The wisemen took a year long journey seeking Jesus—and this short week and half devotional for your family is designed to draw you back in starting the new year looking for Jesus together.

I wrote this devotional almost a decade ago as I studied the journey the magi took, and it has become our tradition moving the wisemen closer to Jesus, setting a habit of also looking for Jesus throughout the day and SHARING at the table at night how each of us saw Jesus. THIS will change your family as you start the new year DOING THIS. Let the habit of looking and sharing together how you see Him change how you live!

Dear friends—sure I could have this printed and sold but FREE is so much sweeter. So feel free to share this link and pass it on to others you want to join you I this journey. My gift to you right here…

The Journey of the Magi Devotional 

Matthew 2:1-2 “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

After the King was born–the day we celebrate on Christmas…isn’t this when the journey really begins?? Always looking for Jesus. Running towards Him. Longing to see Him. This. This is what I really want to teach my children.

So our journey now begins.

For many families–this is the time they start putting up their Christmas decorations. But for us, some will go up…but not our Magi or our manger scene. For the next couple of weeks–our Magi will journey through our home getting a little closer to the manger each day–a little closer to seeing Jesus. Each day will represent almost a months time in the actual magi’s journey as we remember the almost YEAR long journey it took for the magi to finally arrive to worship the king.

Each morning, the children will run down the stairs to find the magi…to see how far they have come from their last resting place. And each morning (or night when morning passes us too quickly by) we will sit with them as we reflect on their journey and what led them to continue toward the King NO MATTER WHAT.

This journey will inspire us in the year ahead–to continue to draw closer to Jesus.

This journey will remind us that the year ahead will not always be easy–but to trust in the One who is calling us.

This journey will bring us to our knees to worship…and remind us to bring our own gifts to Jesus…to bring glory to Him.

In our after Christmas craziness–putting things “back together”, I don’t want to forget there is something to be learned with the magi’s journey to Christ.

Yet, because their journey began after the birth of Christ–ours, too, would begin the day after Christmas–just after we celebrated the birth of Christ in our home.

And we begin our journey with the magi today…

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